What are mantis prawns?

Photography: Getty Images

Their various nicknames - prawn-killer, pissing shrimp, sea locust, thumb splitter among them - obviously weren't dreamed up with marketing in mind, but mantis prawns have their dedicated admirers. Chef Chase Kojima, of Sydney's Sokyo and Kiyomi on Queensland's Gold Coast, is a fan and snaps up any mantis prawns Sydney fish supplier Narito Ishii can get his hands on.

"It's traditionally eaten as sushi - you get it live, boil it, peel it, and then roast the shells to make tsume (a sweet teriyaki-style sauce made from soy, mirin, sake and sugar)," says Kojima.

Dan Hong (of Mr Wong and Ms G's) says mantis prawns are only occasionally available in Sydney, as a by-catch of eastern king prawns. "They're very perishable out of the water - only the big ones are worth eating because there's not much meat on them, just a thin strip," says Hong.

Try mantis prawns with our prawn recipes.

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